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How to make tart crust from scratch: slightly sweet and flaky

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I’ve been making a lot of tarts lately (both sweet and savory), and wanted to share the basic recipe to make a slightly sweet and very flaky tart crust from scratch that can serve as a base for various fruit tarts and tartlets.

This tart dough recipe produces an amazingly flaky and light crust, so please follow it closely: I’ll be describing it in a lot of detail, but making a tart crust is super easy once you understand how it works.

How to make tart crust from scratch: sweet and flaky

How to make sweet tart dough (tart crust)

9.5 inch tart pan

Prep time: 40 min
Bake time: 40 min


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1)    Using food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, salt to combine thoroughly.

2)   Cut cold butter into small cubes. Add the butter into the food processor (which already has flour, sugar and salt combined from step 1) and pulse until the consistency becomes that of a coarse meal.

3)  In a small cup, combine the egg yolk, heavy cream and vanilla and stir well together. Add the egg mixture to the food processor and pulse to combine.

4)  Shape the dough into a disk on a foil. I usually do it with my hands and fingers pushing the dough away from its center into a round shape, pressing into the foil.   Use a very small amount of flour to dust working surface to avoid dough clinging to the foil. I occasionally bring the tart pan over the tart dough to make sure the round I am making is larger in diameter than a well of my tart pan.

5)  Grease the tart pan. Then, I take the foil and and ease the round into a tart pan, patting it firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Carefully remove the foil. If some pieces of crust fall off, just gently press them back.  If your foil gets stuck to the dough, don’t remove it and refrigerate the tart shell as described in step 6.  After your crust has been refrigerated for at least an hour, you will be able to remove foil easily.

6)  Extend the dough slightly above the rim to compensate for any shrinkage during baking. Place the tart pan with the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Cover tart pan with plastic.

How to make tart crust from scratch: sweet and flaky

7)  Preheat oven to 400 F. Line the cold tart shell with a sheet of aluminum oil, with edges hanging over the sides of the tart pan.  Place pie weights into the shell.  In my case, I used rice and quinoa.

How to make tart crust from scratch: sweet and flaky
How to make tart crust from scratch: sweet and flaky
How to make tart crust from scratch: sweet and flaky

8)  Bake the tart shell for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, lift the foil with weights out of the pan.

9)  Continue baking the tart shell without weights and aluminum foil for 15 minutes, until golden brown color. Let it cool.

You can use this pre-baked tart shell as a base for various tart fillings where the tart crust is pre-baked in advance (as described above), and the filling is prepared separately, as well, and then just added into the pre-baked tart shell, such as in this Blueberry Tart recipe. For other recipes, you will pre-bake this tart shell only for the first 15 minutes, and then you will add a filling and continue baking the tart shell with the filling already in it – as in this breakfast tart. Enjoy, experiment, and I’d love to hear how it turns out for you!

Here are some other recipes I already made (and posted) for tarts and tartlets:



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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Rae February 13, 2016, 3:24 pm

    Dumb question: In all the pictures I see, the tart is not in the pan. Any instructions on how to get it out without breaking it? I assume you have to remove it from the pan before filling it.

    • Amanda Contento February 27, 2017, 12:15 am

      Some tart pans have a removable bottom so you lift the bottom up and the sides come away from it.

  • Corena Leone May 22, 2017, 5:14 pm

    Is there a substitute for heavy cream in this recipient? Would regular milk, almond milk or coconut milk work?

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